35 Pinnacles Road

History of Rim Drive, Crater Lake National Park


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The Army Corps of Engineers Road System


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Pinnacles Road

This route had one advantage over the wagon road of 1865 in that it allowed for a more direct connection with a rapidly evolving regional road network. Motorists on the main north-south road corridor between California and the Columbia River to use a spur road of roughly 10 miles in length for the purpose of reaching the rim at Kerr Notch. It saved them time in comparison to going through the South Entrance, even if no services were available at Kerr Notch. Construction of the Rim Road circuit would eventually provide visitors access to the hotel and camping at Rim Village.

Almost all construction on the Pinnacles Road took place in 1913, when laborers and teams completed clearing, rough grading, and cross drainage for the 6.5 miles between the East Entrance and Kerr Notch. The last 1.5 miles nearest the rim required some side hill excavation because the road’s location remained close to Sand Creek until it approached the Anderson Bluffs. At that point engineers made note of the revetments (hand laid rock retaining walls) needed to retain the fills constructed by hand or with teams. Cross drainage along the route consisted of two “rustic” log bridges and twenty culverts with log sides and plank tops. The only subsequent changes to the road while the engineers remained at Crater Lake came in 1918, when the two bridges and nine wooden culverts were replaced with fills and corrugated iron culverts. It remained a rough graded road, one that required continual regrading due to the ruts caused by traffic, particularly trucks hauling supplies. Regrading took place on an annual basis for the next decade or so, beginning in 1914.